Once upon a time, I flew back from Lausanne in Switzerland to London. Although the skies were clear, there had been heavy thunderstoms earlier in the day so the plane was forced to hold above Heathrow. We flew around and around in circles for so long that we eventually had to divert to Bournemouth to refuel.

This impromptu diversion confused the trio of Swiss people sitting behind me who thought London was ‘quite small’ and ‘very green’ and why ‘is no-one getting off’ after we had landed and sat around for 15 minutes on the runway at this small, provincial airport.

This confusion was because British Airways were too incompetent to put a French speaker on the crew on a flight from Switzerland. In fact, when he realised he wasn’t actually in London, one of the Swiss passengers then politely asked a stewardess why no announcements had been made in French.

Events then descended into farce when the stewardess then made an announcement for ‘any French speaking passengers to make themselves known to the cabin staff’. The same Swiss passenger duly volunteered and he then made an announcement over the loudspeaker system directed primarily at his two fellow Swiss passengers who were sitting right there, next to him.

So, after a complimentary drink to placate the Brits and prevent rioting, we finally arrived 2 hours 30 mins late at London Heathrow. The final straw was that it took British Airways a further 45 minutes to get a set of steps and buses over to the remote stand at Terminal 4 so we could actually leave the plane.

As I finally left the plane at 21.45 on a Friday night, I was tired, fed up and just desperate to get home. The pilot was stood at the exit door, smiling and saying ‘Good night’ to all passengers.

I paused and told him that, while I understood that the diversion due to the weather was unavaoidable, it was an absolute joke that the British Airways could not arrange for ground staff to meet a plane that was over 2 hours late. The only consequence for me was that my tea was cold. However, plenty of other passengers on that flight were desperately trying to make connections to America and Asia. If the steps had been in place, they might just have had a slim chance of making their onward connection. With this additional delay, there was absolutely no chance.

The pilot just smiled again (which was quite irritating in itself) and replied ‘Yes I know Sir. It is embarassing and bloody unacceptable and I can assure you that I have made my views known in no uncertain terms.’